The Golan Heights will always belong to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s failure to endorse the Trump administration’s 2019 recognition of the zone.
“The Golan was and will remain part of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “With an agreement, without an agreement, we are not coming down from the Golan. It will remain a sovereign part of the State of Israel.”
Blinken on Monday stopped short of saying the Biden administration would recognize Israel’s legal right to the Golan Heights.
“As a practical matter, the control of the Golan in that situation I think remains of real importance to Israel’s security,” he told CNN. “Legal questions are something else, and over time, if the situation were to change in Syria, that’s something we look at, but we are nowhere near that.”
He added the presence of militia groups backed by Iran, pose a “significant security threat” to Israel.
Former President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019. Last November, Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, made a rare visit to there, where he said “this is a part of Israel and central part of Israel.”
In June 2019, Netanyahu inaugurated a new town in the Golan Heights named after President Donald Trump in recognition of his move formally acknowledging Israel’s sovereignty over the strategic plateau.
“All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said at the time.